Sen. Joyce Maker Sponsors Bill to Address Opioid Crisis in Washington County

Contact:
Krysta West
Communications Director
Senate Republican Office
(207) 287-1505
krysta.west@legislature.maine.gov

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUGUSTA – State Senator Joyce Maker (R-Washington) has sponsored legislation to address the opioid crisis in Washington County through an all-inclusive, treatment-based approach.

If passed, LD 812, “Resolve, To Establish a Pilot Project To Save Lives and Support People with Substance Use Disorder in Washington County,” would implement an opioid treatment pilot project in Washington County that would:

  • Train non-health care entities that are on the front lines, serving as points of entry to treatment and recovery
  • Provide training, comfort packs and referral systems to emergency departments
  • Add eight additional detox beds
  • Work with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) prescribers to pair them with counselors
  • Provide MAT to people without insurance
  • Add the option for partial hospitalization for those without insurance
  • Add low or no-cost prescriptions for those without insurance
  • Eliminate barriers such as child care and transportation during treatment and recovery
  • Provide treatment and recovery support in county/local jails

These are only a few measures included in LD 812.

“The opioid crisis has reached the level of an epidemic in Maine, averaging one overdose death per day in 2016,” said Sen. Maker. “Washington County has been hit particularly hard by this crisis and I fear that the treatment options available in the region are far from adequate.

“Between 2012-2014, Washington County had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the state with a rate significantly higher than the statewide average. We also had the second-highest rate of drug affected babies, which was nearly double the statewide average.

“This affliction has had a devastating effect within the region, touching each and every family in one way or another. Yet, from care to recovery, our region lacks the necessary infrastructure to help those in crisis when they seek out treatment for their addiction.

“We need to face this crisis head-on, which is why I’ve sponsored this important legislation. There is no single approach that will reverse the grips of this disease. We need a holistic approach, which is what LD 812 has to offer. So, Let’s implement this plan where action is most needed to see which policies can be most effective for the rest of the state.”

LD 812 has been referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services for consideration.

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